General Admission

Why PAL is always high up there

By Al S. Mendoza

WHAT makes the Philippine Airlines (PAL) click?

Well, aside from its new fleet of state-of-the-art jets, PAL’s service has consistently been world-class.

Thus, when Reyfort Fortaleza aired a gripe about PAL’s ticket price being a bit higher that the competition, he got an explanation clearer than clear.

“It is because we have a service that is beyond compare,” said Cielo “Beng” Villaluna, the charming spokesperson of PAL.  “Not for anything but our amenities, plus the other perks that go with each ticket bought, are not of the ordinary kind.”

End of conversation, happening recently at the Puso Restaurant of Quest Hotel during breakfast at the PAL Interclub Golf in Cebu City. 

Also with us that memorable morning was Jake P. Ayson, my good neighbor who else?

Reyfort, for years now a yearly participant in the fabled team golf championship unfurled in 1947, was our Montreal Olympics boxer now living comfortably in Canada.

Reyfort owns a newspaper and a magazine, both publications being almost a Bible among thousands of Filipinos living in Vancouver.

Now a senior, Reyfort plays in the PAL Seniors event reserved for 55-years-old and above that is held since 1986 on the first week of the PAL Interclub.

Reyfort made an eagle and, when no one scored a hole-in-one  from among the 1,000-plus participants from virtually all corners of the globe, he had wished his eagle would win him a PAL ticket to London during the awarding ceremonies.

“Sadly, it got raffled off,” rued Reyfort, so proud of his first ever eagle that he kept boasting about it—in the company of friends, at least.

Reyfort, who missed a bantamweight bronze in the 1976 Olympics when a North Korean outpointed him with a swarming offense, also joined the PAL Media Golf preceding the PAL Men’s Regular.

He was in contention after Day One of the two-day Media Golf event, but he faltered in the stretch—succumbing to exhaustion in the end as the Inquirer’s Jong Arcano, Mindanao Times’ Tommy Inigo and Cebu SunStar chairman JayJay Neri finished 1-2-3 in the 21-man field.

I finished ninth. 

I’m happy with that after making a fat 9 on No. 1 of the killer Alta Vista, Cebu’s mountain course that has been a Waterloo to many aspirants.

I failed twice to cross the ravine on Alta Vista’s scary No. 1, practically burying huge hopes of a rally after my fighting first-day result at the exclusive Cebu Country Club.

Jaime J. Bautista, PAL’s soft-spoken President/CEO, made PAL Interclub history when he became the first ever top PAL official to hit the ceremonial tee shot of the PAL Media Golf on March 3 at CCC.

Jimmy was able to rewrite history despite his exceedingly busy schedule, having to leave for Manila just hours after hitting his inaugural shot.

He was to catch a flight to Phnom Penh the following morning, in the company of his top lieutenants Josen Perez de Tagle and Nannette Versoza.

“Always, Sir Jimmy finds time to travel if it’s for the best interest of PAL,” said Cielo.  “A leader for all seasons, indeed.”

It is the likes of Jimmy that always puts PAL up high there.

Is that clear, Reyfort?

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